The National Pesticide Reform Coalition |
Crop sprayer by S. K. McDonald, Bugwood.org
The National Pesticide Reform Coalition was formed in 2002 by ABC and other non-profit groups who recognized an increasing need for coordination in addressing issues arising from the Environmental Protection Agency's pesticide registration and re-registration processes.
Prior to the formation of the Coalition, each environmental organization dealt with pesticide issues individually, meaning that information was inconsistently shared between groups, actions were sometimes duplicated, and the overall effort was sometimes insufficient to sway a particular outcome. Furthermore, the EPA would sometimes fail to bring a specific issue to the attention of the environmental community on the basis that there was no central place to go.
Since its inception, the NPRC has proved an effective means of fighting specific pesticide registrations that are deemed hazardous to people, animals, or the environment. Equally importantly, though, it has also been paramount in strengthening relations with the EPA, and in monitoring and assessing their regulatory actions and procedures, and the laws that govern them.
The Coalition now comprises 20 organizations, ranging from bird and invertebrate specialists, to human health groups, to general conservation and environmental groups. In 2006, the Coalition was instrumental in efforts, led by ABC, to remove the pesticide carbofuran from the market. This toxic insecticide was documented as the cause of hundreds of bird kills, ranging from ducks to songbirds, and the EPA's decision to cancel it was seen as a major victory for birds and the Coalition.
The members of the Coalition use dialogue as their first and most important tool. Several members of the NPRC serve on the EPA's Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee alongside pesticide manufacturers and trade associations. Groups regularly meet with top EPA officials to discuss ongoing issues and bring new concerns to light. But legal proceedings have also been a key component of NPRC actions, and members have been involved in suits ranging from Endangered Species Act consultations to the protection of salmon in the Northwest, to the protection of the San Joaquin kit fox and other endangered species in California.
Priorities for the coalition or subsets of its members currently include: issues arising from spray drift when chemicals are applied aerially; the lack of reporting of avian poisoning incidents into the EPA database; and the regulation of pesticides on the basis of their volatility as well as their toxicity. ABC and other members of the Coalition are also currently requesting that EPA cancel all uses of Avitrol, a pesticide that is used to kill birds in crop fields. ABC believes that the pesticide presents a threat to non-target species such as raptors that feed on dead or dying birds and can be poisoned as a result, as well as to the threatened Rusty Blackbird.
Current NPRC members are:
Alaska Community Action on Toxics
American Bird Conservancy
Californians for Alternatives to Toxics
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Environmental Health
Defenders of Wildlife
Endangered Species Coalition
Farm Worker Justice Fund, Inc.
Investor Environmental Health Network
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
Pesticide Action Network North America
Rachel Carson Council, Inc.
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX, Inc)
Washington Toxics Coalition
World Wildlife Fund, US
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation